Christian Recorder: December 27, 1862
Turner writes on the happenings in Washington, DC
Keywords: General Burnside, Church Life, Contraband Meeting
MR. EDITOR----The most important news in Washington at the time, is the various comments on the retreat of General Burnside. Some supposing he was flogged by the rebels, and others, regarding it as a glorious retreat. From the looks of the morning papers, it appears that some frail freak has been discovered in the President’s cabinet. God save the nation, is all that I can say, for the aspect of things never looked more gloomy, than they do this morning. When I am so conclusively led to the conviction, that this nation is endeavoring to raise us up from thralldom and degradation, and still see the angry cataracts, which pour so violently around the trembling threshold of her safety, falling often like peals of dissolving thunder, from the rugged clouds of an enraged sky, my most hearty commiseration throbs languidly for her. I sometimes hear these hateful politicians speaking so contemptibly of the negro, that all sympathy for the time being leaves me. But when my sober senses begin the work again, I find my affections lingering around the land of my birth, and thus voluntary, or involuntarily, as the case may be, I find myself saying, God save the nation. But let us turn to something else.
Last Monday we had the pleasure of being in Baltimore, and to great surprise, we learned that the Rev. John Wesley Brown, of the Sharp Street M. E. Church was dead. At three o’clock P.M. we went to Sharp street church, where the funeral solemnities were to be held. Here we found about 2500 persons convened in, and around the church. Going into the basement we discovered some 50 ministers, including all denominations, in mourning attire, who marched two by two into the upper part of the church, where the congregation were so densely packed, that you might have imagined the girders of the church inadequate to the weight. And here I am at last, for I took down the contents of the funeral services, but have mislaid my report. So far as my memory serves me, the Rev. Mr. Peak prayed a most effective prayer, and Rev. Mr. Spridle delivered the discourse. Brother Spridle’s remarks were very sublime till towards the close, when he gave vent to the spirit, and spake though powerfully, yet somewhat at random. Rev. Mr. Bowser made the closing remarks, in which he wielded a pathos, that held in glorious check the entire audience. Brother Brown was one of the ablest ministers, belonging to the M. E. Church, in Baltimore. His death was peaceful. His last breathings were calm.
Rev. C. C. Leigh, the principal agent of the Freedmen’s Association, in New York, preached in Israel Church last Sabbath evening, and it was one of the grandest discourses that I have heard from a white man in an age. He tore into atoms that lazy trifling spirit, that keeps too many of our people from study of the natural sciences. He told them that the study of science alone gives strength and sinew to the mind. Unless they could grapple with science, they could never grapple with policies.
After which, Rev. Mr. French spoke of his travels along the coast of South Carolina and Florida, and of the triumph of negro regiments. His remarks were so pleasing to the audience, that they forgot they were in the church, and went to clapping hands, stamping feet. Rev. Mr. Denison rose up and stated that he had just received a dispatch that Gen. Burnside had been victorious, which created such a stir that the pastor dismissed them.
Rev. John M. Brown was there today, and brought from his all honored congregation some two barrels and a box, consisting of 250 pieces of clothing for the contrabands. Ebenezer Church, of Baltimore, of which the ever active and industrious brother Brown is pastor, is made up of some of the most noble hearted people belonging to the A. M. E. Church and Big Bethel had better watch her.
The convention hitherto meeting at Union Bethel Church, met last Thursday at Israel. Your correspondent, being somewhat mortified in the commencement of the proceeding, did not take them down systematically as he intended. However, I was convinced that our people possessed the power of legislation. The house was densely crowded, and among the audience I noticed several congressmen and reporters with any quantity of ladies and gentlemen, of all grades and classes.
Mr. John Thos. Johnson, Secretary, read one of the most intelligent reports of the previous meeting to which I thought I over listened.
Several motions were offered, and discussed with great dignity and strength of mind. Mr. William Slade, President, governed the association so very parliamentary, that Judge Day, who made some remarks toward the close of the meeting, said: “That the Houses of Representatives ought to adjourn and come here, to learn parliamentary decorum.” They adjourned, however, on a motion considering the propriety of each member of the association advancing five dollars, as the basis of an operation in the erection of a hospital.
Rev. A. W. Wayman passed through here today, on his way to Alexandria, for the purpose of delivering a scientific lecture.
Mr. Solomon G. Brown, who is really the colored philosopher of the United States, Delivers a lecture on Geology, before the Israel Lyceum, on Monday evening next.
H. M. T.
Washington, Dec. 20th 1862